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Bonnie Franklin played a single mother on the sitcom 'One Day at a Time'

Bonnie Franklin played mom Ann Romano on the TV show 'One Day at a Time.' Bonnie Franklin was a veteran stage and television performer before she took her breakout role on 'Day.'

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Bonnie Franklin played mother Ann Romano on 'One Day at a Time,' which first aired in 1975.

Andrew Kelly/Reuters

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Bonnie Franklin, the pert, redheaded actress whom millions came to identify with for her role as divorced mom Ann Romano on the long-running sitcom "One Day at a Time," has died.

Franklin was a veteran stage and television performer before "One Day At a Time" made her a star.

Developed by Norman Lear and co-created by Whitney Blake — herself a former sitcom star and single mother raising future actress Meredith Baxter — the series was groundbreaking for its focus on a young divorced mother seeking independence from a suffocating marriage.

It premiered on CBS in December 1975, just five years after the network had balked at having Mary Tyler Moore play a divorced woman on her own comedy series, insisting that newly single Mary Richards be portrayed as having ended her engagement instead.

On her own in Indianapolis, Ann Romano was raising two teenage girls — played by Mackenzie Phillips, already famous for the film "American Graffiti," and a previously unknown Valerie Bertinelli. "One Day At a Time" ran on CBS until 1984, by which time both daughters had grown and married, while Romano had remarried and become a grandmother. During the first seven of its nine seasons on the air, the show was a Top 20 hit.

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